Sunday, March 18, 2007

Yet another trailer park to be replaced by a subdivision and condo's. Has anyone actually figured out how much population increase is necessary to fill all the existing housing, those currently being built, and those being planned? It seems crazy to me, but then 30 years ago when I came back to Bend from college, I was astounded by how much growth had happened -- all the way from 13,000 to 20,000.

Now Redmond is that size. Mind-boggling.

I've been trying to read a book called IMPERIAL SAN FRANCISCO, by Gray Brechin. (It's pretty dense....)

The basic theme of the book is that cities are vortexes, that suck in energy and material from the surrounding countryside (the "cantado" in Italian.)

"As a city grows, so does both its reach and its power to transform the nonhuman world on which its people depend."

The basic theme of the book, though, is that it is the economic forces of the landed elites who create and coax this growth.

"The city does nothing of its own accord, however; it is driven. The public knows little about the linked dynastic elites that, through their control of information, create the unifying beliefs and blindnesses that motivate truly imperial cities...

"...By controlling the flow of information to the populace and blacking out that which concerns itself, an urban aristocracy make both the city and contado collective tools to perpetuate and expand its wealth and power. However elites may disagree and vie among themselves..."
"...they can all agree that the city must grow -- and its land values rise -- to assure the continuation of their dominion."

Sound familiar?

Or as the Roman historian Tacitus ...."quotes a British chieftain as saying that the Roman legions 'make a desolation and call it peace....'"

"Cities are humanity's most complex artifacts. As they grow, their internal processes and external effects become so intricate that no human mind or computer can follow them."


Jason said...
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Jason said...

You're right ... that does sound a bit familiar.

It sounds like a fascinating book, too. I think I'll have to track down a copy. I don't suppose you've got one in the store anyplace ...

I barely recognize this town anymore, and I've only seen it change over the last 16 years. Every time I take a drive over to my folks' house on the south end of town, I see a new housing development springing up. These semi-expensive buildings, all clones of each other. The same thing goes for retail spaces and office buildings. It feels like this has all happened so darn fast.

Bend has changed quite a bit, and it's interesting and terrifying all at once.